“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.”
Our souls are washed, our hair is filled with sawdust.
A chainsaw artist took a break and left his bear holding the saw.
Husband dear and I took our little dog, Sweetpea to the McKenzie Chainsaw Festival in Blue River Oregon, although we were concerned about the noise.
Recently Sweetpea developed a fear of loud sounds. She gets excited about going in the car, though, so we often take her wherever we are going. That little curling up on the floor when we say she has to stay home, melts my resolve to leave her.
I figure she doesn’t know what she is getting into, but then, she knows that bacon might appear somewhere on the trip. (It did on this trip.)
The Obsidian Grill at McKenzie bridge, 20 miles on up the highway from Blue River makes a super-duper chicken sandwich--blackened chicken, no scrimping on the bacon, no scrimping on the tomato slices or the lettuce all green and curly. They add cheese that is cheese, a pepper, and serve all this on a toasted artisan bun that has a slight crunch, which gives it character, but doesn’t tear the skin off the roof of your mouth. (See there was a piece of bacon for Sweetpea. It’s her consciousness.)
Until Sweetpea ’s recent sensitivity I was oblivious to the crashing, banging of trucks with their air-brakes, their loading sounds, their off-loading sounds, and the roaring of them passing. Well, of course, there are fireworks, and gun shots. The dog has sensitized me.
Desensitizing a horse is called, “bomb proofing,” I think earmuffs might be a good idea for a dog.
Daughter number one gave us a homeopathic for Sweetpea, and it seems to help a bunch. The homeopathic is, Aconitum Napellus 30x
After a dose, she handled the chainsaw noise like a trooper. Tractors were a different story.
In between exiting the car, (that was a delight for Sweetpea) and entering it again, (a greater delight—“Whew, I survived!”) we were struck by the ingenuity of human beings.
The carver made the bear in a log (see below) within a two hour specified time. The “Quick carves” (two hours) were then auctioned off. I don’t know who bought the bear in a log, my favorite, or what they paid for it—but to carve this in two hours?! Wow.
In between Quick carves, the artists worked on their larger pieces.
Find meaningful work is one of the attributes that leads to a happy life. And in speaking to one of the carvers, he says he makes a living with his carvings. Often they are commissioned, so it's fun for him to to carve whatever suits his fancy.
While meaningful work is high on the happiness scale, there is one higher, and I was shocked to hear this--it is WHERE WE LIVE.
Yes, we must take care of food, education, work satisfaction, committed relationships, and friends which whom you can have meaningful conversations, but stacking the deck is where we live.
You knew I couldn't end this blog without going into something resembling a life lesson didn't you?
Dan Buettner, author of “Blue Zones,” a researcher of places where people live the longest and are the happiest, says that regarding the happiness spectrum, about 50% relies on genetics with 50% being controllable.
However, stacking the deck is WHERE WE LIVE.
The peoples of Singapore are happy, but for the American independent that probably wouldn't work. They are secure, success is laid out, they work hard, they keep your head down. It's what is expected.
Costa Rica is "Puta Viva" Pure life, the cities are designed for face to face contact with other people, not just traffic.
Denmark, interesting that a cold climate is a happy one, for people are usually drawn to warmth, tropics, sunshine, water and mountains. However in Denmark health care is no issue, students get paid to go to the University, and status is not celebrated, in fact it is frowned upon. The Danes go on vacations, and 80% like their jobs.
Canada is a happy place--hum, another cool climate. Daughter and I loved Canada. Imagine a place where they have signs for buckling up that say, "Be protected, not projected." Unlike the US's "Buckle up, it's the law." And in cities they have "Traffic calming zones," where a driver can pull over to the side of the road. They seem to be friendly, happy people.
Stack the deck.
Orchestrate your own happiness.
To a wonderful life,
Songs and Secrets
“Thunder of the sky, thunder of the drums, thunder of the falls. A timeless song cycle…Here water sings a deep-voiced travel song.”
—Sign at Koosah Falls, McKenzie River, Oregon
Ironic that we took off for tall timber to escape the fourth of July fireworks only to arrive home to the tune of, “Pop, pop pop.”
We fixed it though, while our little dog, Sweetpea, our motivation for running away, hid under the bed, we turned on the movie Jurassic Part III and the screaming, roaring and chomping drowned out the snap, crackle and pop that was happening outside.
We had intended to be out past fireworks time, but by 10 o’clock we were ready to be home. We had spent the day out the McKenzie River area, visiting waterfalls, rowing a boat on Clear Lake, and having a picnic with daughter number one and her family by the lake.
Sweetpea has developed a fear of loud noises, so husband dear and I decided to escape the 4th of July and go to the forest.
Did you know that fireworks are verboten in the National Forests of Oregon? However, the one cabin I could find that I wanted, was only available on the 3rd . so we took it.
What fun. Sweetpea provided the motivation. And daughter dear had given us a remedy for Sweetpea that seemed to make her better.
I have mentioned that both husband and I grew up in Oregon, but on the dry side of the Cascade Mountains. When we first visited Oregon west of the Cascades, (And we settled here) I thought I hadn’t seen Oregon until I saw the McKenzie River.
Years ago we visited McKenzie bridge where The Log Cabin Inn had a long history of being a stagecoach stop, and where at that time it was a restaurant where they served wonderful food, and delicious Oregon berry cobblers.
Alas during our time away from Oregon the Log Cabin Inn burned to the ground. And what was once rustic cabins alongside it, are now replaced with exquisite houses, called cabins, that are for rent, at a goodly price, and will sleep 12 . Not what we wanted.
However, across the street, from what used to be the Log Cabin Inn, is a small convenience.grocery store, and within that store is The Obsidian Grill. You wouldn’t believe how good their food is. “Fresh ingredients,” they say. It makes a difference, attention to detail. Salad fresh, crisp, and the blacked chicken sandwich, on an artisan bun, bacon, peppers, red cabbage coleslaw, I don’t know what all. Mine was perfect.
Husband dear had pulled pork, that he loved. Behind the grill existed a large area, partly covered, partly open, mulched with bark, and littered with picnic tables. There you could while away the hours, or eat and run. A movie screen was set up, but the movies hadn’t begun yet. But what a great idea.
That was our destination this fourth of July, and our cabin within blocks of it.
If you travel on up the McKenzie, you will find roaring, turbulent waterfalls, and farther on you will come to Clear Lake. Three thousand years ago the lake was formed by a volcanic eruption that damned up the river and created the lake. The water drains from the lake forming the McKenzie. The headwaters of the McKenzie collects above the lake from snow melt from the Three Sisters Mountains.
The McKenzie is the only tributary to the Willamette River that doesn’t have an Indian name. Phooey. It has a trapper/explorer’s name.
No motor boats are allowed on the lake, but they rent rowboats, and Daughter number one, grandson, Sweetpea and I took advantage of their offer. We took turns rowing and wove our way out onto the beautiful lake. Along the shores we could see little white butts in the air as Canadian geese struggled to feed on the underwater plant life while their floatation devices struggled to keep them afloat.
And finally, on the way home, a photo of a wall that formed the entrance to Sahalie Falls built by the CCC--The Civilian Conservation Corps 1933-1942. Look at the precision of the rock work. Franklin D. Roosevelt, long interested in conservation, created the CCC to relieve families who had difficulty finding work during the great depression. One of Roosevelt's most successful New Deals, this one gave men food, shelter, clothing and a wage of $30 per month, $25 of which they had to send home to their families. (In 1970 this wage was equivalent to $570.)
Visit Timberline Lodge, sometimes, and there you will find exquisite carvings decorating the banisters created by the CCC.
It ’s estimated that some 57,000 illiterate men learned to read and write in CCC camps.
Our cabin in the woods, Sahalie Falls, The Mighty McKenzie River, Look down, Look sideways, Look up, Dock at Clear Lake, Look who is escorting our boat, The CCC wall. The rescued butterfly--recovered from the hot road on our dashboard.
“The best things can’t be told—because they transcend thought.” –Joseph Campbell
Although I have always been a nature lover, I am becoming even more appreciative as time goes by.
Every blade of grass is sacred, the leaves, the flowers that are so abundant here in the spring and summer –all of it. It can suck up your breath and bring sparklers to your eyes.
Joseph Campell speaks of viewing the world as thou, instead of it.
Thou, meaning we are a part of it all, no better, no worse. Many native cultures view the world as he described—as thou. Not it. The animals were even superior to him, not something to be taken from and discarded. The animal meant life. They had powers he didn’t have. He hunted, yes, but out of necessity. He killed, yes, out of necessity, and archeologists have found burial sites where the animal’s bones were buried in a ceremonial fashion, as though preparing it for its next life, the same as they did with their fellow humans. They planned that the animal, as the human, would keep on living.
Buffalo slaughters saw the animals as it, to be used, destroyed and decimated, not honored. It was a sacrilege.
I grew up in The Dalles Oregon, on the other side of the rain shadow of Oregon, and although the springs were beautiful, in the summer all areas not irrigated became quite barren and dry. The dominant color being that of straw.
Perhaps that set me up for loving green so much. When my family and I visited the Western side of the Cascade range, where the rains come, and I saw green dripping from every available surface, I was in heaven. Heaven, to me, always has to be green.
As a young person of twelve or thirteen, I discovered heaven one particular spring day outside my home town of The Dalles, before the straw had descended.
I had ridden my horse down an unknown road and came to a gate. I opened the gate and almost lost my horse while closing the gate. He was so eager to enter heaven he took off. He was used to living on a hill, so an open space meant time for a good run. But he stopped and waited for me, and together we traveled down a road through an open prairie. Later in the year this area would become dry, but this was spring and water had collected in shallow pools, and the area was green, and ablaze with wildflowers. A pair of ducks sprang from the water as I came upon them unexpectedly.
As you approach The Dalles via the freeway, and look not at the Columbia River, but to the other side, you will see bluffs from the road. The top of these bluffs is flat, a mesa, and at the very top of the bluff are caves you can see from the road. They are called Eagle’s caves, and the area I found was behind those caves and across the expanse of flat land atop the hill. I didn’t know where I was that day as I had entered from way behind the caves, from a country road.
It was a one-time event, never to be witnessed again.
One of those moments of childhood you experience only with your horse.